Friday, February 10, 2012

Bad Sales and Marketing Promotions - If You Are Not Going to Do it Right, Don't Do it At All

I see some really bad promotions and marketing all of the time. They make me want to pull my hair out. Spending money on promotions is great, but if you run a company and your folks aren't going to go out and spend the effort, elbow grease, sweat  and time to make the promotions a success, you shouldn't do those promotions... Or you need to find someone who will spend the effort.

I think the biggest mistake of promotions, and you won't find a company executive who disagrees with me, is thinking that throwing money at a promotion will make it good. Even though you won't find a company executive who doesn't agree with me, you'll find one heck of a lot of them who are guilty of doing this very thing or, at the least, allowing it.

I see it all the time.

Frankly speaking, if you are not going to do a promotion right, then don't do it at all. Little things are what really make or break a promotion to potential customers; to me, to you. Far too many company executives look at a promotion purely from their point of view and fail to see it from the other side.

Need proof that little things make a BIG difference? Here's one that everyone has seen: When you see a clock in public and the clock is broken do you think well of that clock makers merchandise? No. No one does. Of course.

How much more basic can you get than that example?

It takes a licking but keeps on ticking

Here's a few other examples that I can give you of promotions I saw recently with my own eyes that were absolute disasters.

I recall a time at a very famous record company when they were preparing the release of the CD of a new artist. The artist management was demanding (as they should) all sorts of promotion and cooperation from the label.

The label promised this and that. The one item I clearly remember was the label boss bragging to the artist's agent that they were going to go all out and print the most in-store flyers they'd printed in years to push this one artist. A few months later, when sales didn't materialize, I was visiting the record label. There I saw, under the desk of the promotions manager, stacks and stacks of unused flyers for that artist stored under his desk. There must have been 50,000 flyers there. This was two months after release.

So they spent a lot of money on the promotion but the people were too lazy to get off their rears and hit the streets and distribute those flyers. Needless to say the promotion was a flop as well as a waste of money.

That was several years ago. Last I heard was that this same guy was still in charge of promotions. Any wonder why their sales do not increase? 

The guy is lazy. That's all there is to it.

Another example that made me want to pull my hair out was a promotion for a famous automobile company. It was a charity banquet at one of the top hotels in Hong Kong. There were famous politicians and movie stars there too. Besides those folks, a lot of movers and shakers in town were also in attendance.

Banquet table. Can you pick out the automobile promotion? 

An American automobile company was a co-sponsor for this event. On the banquet tables they put boxed automobile models of their newest car. Guess what? No one knew what was in those boxes because they didn't bother to open one and make the model for display for each table. They left the model cars in the boxes!

Now, that is inexcusable. Any good promotion will allow the potential customer to recognize instantaneously what the service or product is. That the end user has to pick up the box, look at it and think, "What is this?" is just plain embarrassing for the sponsor. How long does it take to recognize a Coca-Cola promotion? One one-hundredth of a second?

On the cluttered tables at the banquet, the cars got lost in the shuffle and few people knew what they were (I took home a dozen to give to my kid and his friends). When I was taking boxes of models, one lady (who sat next to me all night) asked me, "What are those?" I showed her and she exclaimed, "Oh? I want some for my kids too!" and she grabbed a few from the neighboring table... Why not? No one at the neighboring tables took any home. Why should they? They didn't know what they were either. (By the way, including opening of the boxes, it required the average chimpanzee about 30 seconds to assemble one of the models).

Great promotion, eh? These things are sitting on a table right in front of people and no one even knew what they were.

Just before the banquet started, I asked one of the guys from the automobile company to open the boxes so that people would know what the heck they were but he told me that he "didn't have time."

Think about that folks. The guy from the automobile company says he "didn't have time." So what he is saying is that, "I didn't have time to get my butt over here an hour or two early to get the job done right." 

Hell, they could have at least tried to display the cars correctly on some of the tables. But they decided that they didn't have time to do them all so they didn't even start or make an attempt, so they didn't do any! 

The guy is lazy. That's all there is to it.

In spite of what you see going on around you, folks, there are a lot of people who are observant and thinking. In both the examples above, anyone can see that this is incompetence. 

Now be honest with yourselves? How do these examples reflect on the companies that ran these promotions? Good? Bad?

I think the impression is decidedly bad. It is half-a*sed and poor work. It is unacceptable. 

Question: What does a model car in a box look like? Answer: A box. 

Think about it: If, say, an automobile company can't even handle a simple promotion at a dinner show, how am I to expect that they will make their cars or run their business? How can I confidently purchase their vehicles? I can't.

The point? If you are going to do a promotion then do it right or don't do it at all. A poorly run promotion is damaging to a company image.

Now why in the world would a company spend money on a promotion that is just going to create a bad image or hurt their brand?

This is my rendition but, anyone can see, within one-twenty-fifth of a second that above the black boxes is a model car. It shouldn't be too difficult to figure that this is an automobile promotion.


Murasaki Shikibu said...

A lot of promotions aren't implemented properly because they are a pain in the *** to implement. This is where agencies come in. They do all this for you - and you can yell at them if something doesn't work out! ;)

Timo said...

That automobile company clearly was unable to "think out of the box".

Zanchito said...

Wait, there was free stuff (in a box, doesn't matter) and people didn't take it? Over here, guests would have run away with the boxes and whatever was in them. Also, the cutlery and possibly a few napkins and plates.